Theoria: An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science

Volume 2, Issue 1, Octubre/Enero 1986/1987

Gérold Stahl
Pages 61-68

Á la recherche d’une grammaire universelle

Since antiquity many philosophers and grammarians were looking for what is “behind” the particular grammars, for something like “the unchangeable principles common to all languages”. Even limiting ourselves to the most concrete aspects of such a general grammar, we may ask whether there is something realizable among the risky hipotheses and the vague projects. In this paper we do not try to discover something more or less hidden in the particular grammars, but to show, in a very general way, some directions for constructing, eventually, an universal grammar. Four approaches are mentioned: (1) artificial universal languages like Esperanto, (2) systems of automatic analysis of a language, (3) programming languages, (4) the first-order systems of logic. It is shown how those approaches (and the experiences acquired in working with them might be combined; but wether this combination produces interesting results and brings us nearer to an universal and rational grammar of our computerized epoch is an open question, which can be answered only by practical experience.